03x05 - The Empty Chair

Richard: Okay, here's another one.

TechCrunch says, "Laurie Bream spotted lunching at the Rosewood with yet another rising tech star, Sam Herron. Could this finally be the new CEO of Pied Piper?"

Maybe she's just f*cking them all.

It's been ten days. You know what would be nice?

If I found out what Laurie wanted to do with my company from her instead of the f*cking Internet.

Richard, the accountants finally agreed to release our books.


Hey, Richard. Is there anything we should be doing?

I don't know. Why are you asking me?

I'm not the CEO. There is no CEO.

Because, apparently, Jack's empty f*cking chair is a better choice than I am.

So, maybe... maybe ask the chair, see what it thinks.

Say what you will about the chair, but at least it never told me to build a f*cking box.

True. Compared to Richard, it's a lot sturdier.

And it has a lot less of Barker's ass rubbed all over it.


Are you serious?

On top of Jack's ridiculous severance package, we spent a thousand dollars on each one of your f*cking monitors?

We did? Huh. That's very pricey.

So what? Raviga funded us for $5 million.

There's no way we burned through all that.

Do you have any idea how these deals work? That money's tranched.

What's that?

Well, from the Old French for "slice."

Yeah, try to keep up, Dinesh.

We get our money in stages.

Right? We get $2 million upfront to get us going, to design and build the product, but we don't get the next three million until we take a product to market.

Richard: And Jack was okay with hemorrhaging money, because he thought we were launching the box and then getting the next three million in the next few weeks.

But the platform will take way longer to launch than that.

Yes. So we are effectively a $250 million company who just took $5 million in funding and now we're dead-ass broke.

Our burn rate is astronomical, and every day we sit in limbo like this...

What if we don't?

What if we don't sit in limbo?

Like f*ck limbo, right?

I mean, right now, let's... let's fire all these f*cking sales assholes, and break the lease on this place and get the f*ck out of here.

Can we do that? There's no CEO here to approve any of that.

Yeah. There's also no CEO here to tell me not to do it, right?

That's right. You're the CTO.

Technically, you're the ranking officer.

f*cking A.

Look, when, or if, a new CEO comes to take over the company, we will do what they say to the best of our abilities.

But there is a very real possibility that there won't be a company for them to take over if we don't do something about it now.

So, no more surprise waffles.


No more Chef Amy.


And no more of these stupid offices, okay?

We're going to move back to the hostel.


Richard: Dinesh, we need to cut every corner, save every penny, and plow it into engineers to build the platform. Okay?

Then we will be back on track.

So Gilfoyle, Dinesh, pack up those gold-plated monitors because we are selling them.

Jared, come on. Let's do this.


Well, that sucks.




Okay, guys. Can I have your attention, please!

Yeah, next goal wins.

No. Uh, not... Now. Sorry, it's got to be now.

And so, bring it in, Dang, uh, Chef Amy, Jan the Man, Keith, Northeast regional.

And do you still have your shadow?


Richard: Hey, there he is.

Okay, uh... circle up.

All right, I have some news for you.

Is this about the new CEO?

Re/Code is saying it could be Reid Hoffman.

No. I... don't know anything about that.

No, no. There's no new CEO. There's no new employees of any kind.

There's actually... It's more about you guys becoming former employees.

(MURMURING) So, look...

We're heading in a different direction.

And what that means is, if I haven't taken you aside and spoken to you privately about staying on, that does mean that you are... terminated, immediately.

So, Dang, Chef Amy, Jan the Man, all of Sales, I am, uh, really sorry about all this.

Are you sure that you can fire us, like, legally?

Yeah. Yes, absolutely.

I'm CTO. I'm the highest ranking officer, so yes answer.

You're... you're still CTO? Laurie hasn't fired you yet?

No, she has... Why would she fire me?

Well, Code/Rag said that your tech is mediocre and that's why no one will take the CEO job.



That's why I assumed that you'd been fired.

Uh, maybe she's waiting till Friday to fire him.

Oh, that makes sense.

No, it doesn't make sense. That's not what's happening, okay?

I'm not getting fired. That's crazy.

I haven't read this article. Okay, maybe I'm too busy making the tech awesome, because it's not mediocre.

It's actually... turns out, it's f*cking revolutionary.

So, I guess that's the truth.

And also, I'm not fired, these guys aren't fired, you all are fired.

Everyone from this wall is fired. So, enjoy being fired.

♪ ♪

Jesus! This is a good apple.

Where did you get this?

Oh, I have a fruit guy.


Read me back what we have so far.

Uh, "Bachman and Bighetti shall each include in this venture any and all portfolio companies. The exception shall be for Pied Piper."

Hey, how... how come Pied Piper is not a part of it?

'Cause, you know, I actually used to work there, so maybe it should be?

Big Head, Pied Piper is no longer an incubating entity.

It would be unfair to you and to me and to them for me to relinquish any of my shares in their company.

And besides, like you, I'm giving up everything else I have of value... shares, options, cash, liquid assets.

Wait. So all my assets?

That seems like kind of a lot.

It is a lot, Big Head. We're both giving up a lot.

And we're both gaining a lot also.

And that's what every successful partnership is about.

Committing fully, blindly, and without concern of the consequences, like marriage.


Oh, here. Get this down.

In the event of a tie vote, any disagreement shall be settled with a toss of a coin of Mr. Bachman's choosing.

What the f*ck are you doing in here?

Can't you see we're having a meeting?

Go ahead, Big Head, read that back to me.

Oh, um... "In the event of a tie..."


The f*cking juicer's broken!

This is he second one in two days!

CJ Cantwell of Code/Rag writes, and I quote, "Having met this many candidates without closing one, one can't help wonder why Pied Piper can't land a man. Could the vaunted tech of founder Richard Hendricks, whom I once called 'the next Mark Zuckerberg,' be turning Pied Piper from a unicorn into a donkey wearing a party hat?"


And, she's slandering my tech.

It's the one thing that's working around here.

Look, I think if I just talk to her, I can get her to change it.

No. I do not want you to engage with a muckraker like CJ Cantwell simply to salve your male ego.

My male ego has nothing to do with this, Laurie.

Look, good coders won't want to work for a company they think has shitty tech.

I need to get ahead of this now.

And if I don't, we're done.

Richard, whether you appreciate this or not, I do actually have a plan here.

You can meet with everyone in Palo Alto to replace me as CEO.

I'm not going to tell you how to do your job.

Okay, but I need to do something about this, now.

She-she... she's calling us the next Clinkle.

Clinkle, Laurie. Clinkle.

You... you do know what happened to Clinkle, right?

Do you want us to be Clinkle? Please, just stop saying "Clinkle."

It jars the ear. Fine.

I will have my office set up an interview.

But I want you to present yourself well, Richard.

Be showered, groomed, well-dressed.

And you will need to sit down with our head of PR beforehand to go over talking points.


Because you are in an emotional state, and when you are emotional, you become highly inarticulate.

Well, I don't say that's true.

Okay. Yes. Fine. Sure.


And thank you, Laurie.

♪ ♪

Before you ask, the answer is yes.

I did blow all these hard drives clean.


Gilfoyle: You really are a moron.

The only way to really blow the hard drives clean is to take a drill and punch a hole through it.

All right, calm down, Snowden. I zeroed them all out, we're fine.

Welcome, welcome. Uh, we have lost our lease, so everything must go.

The chairs are arranged in ascending order of lumbar support.

So, have a gander.

Oh, uh, word to the wise: the Haworths are like a spa day for the buttocks.

Yeah, and I have a fragile posterior.

My aunt used to call me "glasshole."

So, you can take it from me.

Look at these f*cking maggots.

Crawling all over our garbage, leaving their slime of mediocrity.

I thought you'd feel right at home in a marketplace, haggling, selling your monkey paws, looking for Indiana Jones in a wicker basket.

Okay. Marion was in the wicker basket, Indiana Jones was tipping them over, you f*cking idiot.


Let me know if you have any questions.

Well, how about that? I made my first sale.

I've organized a lot of estate sales, so this is kind of my wheelhouse.


I have a lot of elderly friends.

Oh, that is a fun item.

That's a hardware fan.

♪ ♪

You've got the yellow hoodie on today.

Oh, yeah.

Wait a second.

None of these are signed.

Oh yeah. Um, it's just my business manager had some questions about the way some of this stuff was being arranged.

Like he said something about how it's not a corporation.

It's just a general partnership or something.

I mean, he told me I didn't understand, which is true, so he wanted to maybe talk to you about it.

So you want to lawyer up, huh? Is that what we're doing?

I don't think he has a law degree.

Big Head, I would hope that a handshake deal would be good enough for you.

Because we're headed down a long road, and that road must be paved with trust. Blind trust.

And you bringing in these so-called "experts..."


...really gives me pause, and it insults my honor.

Huh. Uh, sorry, hold on. I got to take this. I'll be right back.

Sorry. Hello?

Hey. Uh, how do I look?

If I'm being honest, like a ventriloquist dummy.

Uh... Okay.

Well, you know, that's actually kind of fitting, because I'm on my way to Raviga right now to meet with a PR person to tell me exactly what to say to a reporter and how to say it.

Well, that does make sense.

You do tend to babble on when you're under pressure.

Why does this thing people say?

Why indeed?

That was weird.

I just got a call from Laurie Bream's office, at Raviga, asking if I'd want to interview for the job of CEO at Pied Piper.

What? Are you f*cking kidding me?

That's exactly what I said.

Then I said no, and then we both hung up.

I mean, I assume they hung up. I had already hung up, so...

Wow. (SCOFFS) Wow. Okay.

Okay. Yeah, great. Big Head.

Big Head! f*cking kidding me?

What the f*ck is going on?

Big Head, you can insult me all you want by involving your self-described shylocks, but to insult Richard and humiliate him, that's like kicking a child who's done nothing to deserve it.

I may not be able to finish my ramen.

I told them no.

Hi there. Richard Hendricks here to see Dawn Simon, PR.

Sure, she'll be meeting you in the small conference room. Um, do you need me...

No, no. I, uh... I know where it is.

It turns out, I actually know something.

I'm not a f*cking idiot.

Richard Hendricks. Hi.

Before we get any further, I just want you to know that, um, I'm not going to be yelling at you, but I probably am going to yell.


Okay. Uh... because this is bullshit.

Honestly, I mean, I get it. This is your job. You're in PR.

Your job is to pretty much tell me what I can't say.

I mean, when I talk to this reporter, I probably can't say how f*cked up it is that, um, Laurie Bream fired me, and then replaced me with Action Jack Barker.

I probably can't say how the only action he took was to essentially pick the wrong product and then bleed the company dry.

And I probably can't say how f*cking pissed off I am that Laurie Bream is out there gallivanting around the Valley, interviewing every dickhole on Earth for my job, including Big Head... a man that I fired by the way, and no offense, I like him.

I do actually, he's a close friend of mine, been that way for years.

He is a bit of a simpleton, his name's f*cking Big Head.

But, okay, look.

I want to be CEO of Pied Piper, okay?

It is my company. I worked my ass off to build this company, okay?

That's my job. I deserve it.

And it f*cking kills me that Laurie is out there trying to give it to someone else, anyone but me.

But I probably can't say that, can I?

You can say anything you want to say to me.

(SCOFFS) All right.

Thank you for meeting me, Monica.

You are from...?


HL Mencken hails from Baltimore.


Widely perceived as a racist, but... his work on the English language is comprehensive, and his perspicuous skewering of evangelicals is laudable.

Monica, my mission here is not merely to have fun.

That's... that's okay.

When I voted against you, at the board meeting, I just want...

Monica, this is not about you, for once.

I brought you here to say...

I am sorry.


Ah, yes, of course. You are going to make me say it.

Why am I not surprised?

I made a mistake with Richard Hendricks.

And out I went, right on my ass.

And then Laurie put that jackhole Barker in to bankrupt the company.

But does she cop to that? No, no, no.

Because the Laurie-tron 6,000 isn't programmed to admit when she's made a mistake.

I made an error.

Wow, um, that's really big of you to admit.

I should not have removed him as CEO, and installing Jack Barker in his place only compounded that error.

But if that's true, then why are you meeting with so many other CEO candidates?

I am meeting publically with a number of high-value candidates I know to be unavailable, as well as with a number of less-qualified candidates with whom Richard compares favorably.

That's why you called Big Head.

Yes. You see, Richard must not be perceived as being the most expedient candidate.

He must be seen as the correct candidate.

This is very exciting for Richard.

I have been impressed by his conduct in a tough situation.


He's shown mettle.


Therefore, I will call for a vote at the next board meeting to offer him the job.

That is of course assuming he continues to demonstrate an air of professionalism.

Hi, Dawn. Are you waiting for someone?

Yes. I'm supposed to be meeting with Richard Hendricks before he sits down with a Code/Rag reporter.

Oh, that's weird. I saw him earlier.

And that is why...

I'm just being honest here.

I think that Peter Gregory is better off where he is.

Just saying, because if he knew what Laurie was doing to his company, he probably would want to take a gun and blow his brains out.

Uh, okay.

We should probably start talking about the things that I can say.


Richard. Richard Hendricks?

Yes. Who are you?

Dawn Simon, Raviga's publicity director.

So that would make you...?

CJ Cantwell, Code/Rag.


Thank you, I think I have everything I need.

Please tell me that went well.

Yep. No, yeah. It, uh... it-it was gone great.

Yep. It had gone.

It was great.

Uh, she's a... she's a great guy.

Really. Gir... girl. She's... she's cool. She's a cool one.

Cool. Um, so I can just... I can get out here?

Just 'cause I got another thing.

Dawn: Yeah.

Slow down. Listen to me. Look, in my defense, I said those were all the things I can't say, okay.

So it's kind of like I didn't even say them.

But you did say them, at a meeting you scheduled with a reporter.

Reporter? Come on, you're a tech blogger.

Oh, really. Hard to see why Laurie insisted on a PR rep for you.

Look, uh, just... tell me what I can do to kill this?

You want me to spike the story?

Yes, please.

Give me something better. I don't know, go on a drunken racist Twitter rant, or, uh, get in your car, run over Elon Musk, and give me an exclusive from jail. Yeah.

Otherwise, I'm posting this at noon tomorrow, so...

No, no, no, no. Look. Look.

If you want to leave, you're going to have to run me over!


These offices were nice.

Now everything looks so bare.

Yeah. There is a certain sad vulnerability to it.

Have you ever seen a naked dead person?

No. No. No.

Well, the good news is, we cleared almost...

$70,000 from selling all this stuff.

That's not enough to afford all the coders we need.

We need at least a dozen.

Where would we even put them now?

Shall we?

Wait. Where's my hard drive?

What did it look like?

It just looked like a normal standard hard drive.

You sure it was in your bag?

Yeah, it was in my bag.

Could it maybe have slid out and was next to your bag, which was next to all the hard drives we got rid of?

Did you sell my personal hard drive?

You didn't happen to wipe that one clean, too, did you?

My personal hard drive?




So it had our confidential IP on it?

Yes. All the work we did on the platform, the box, everything.

Well, what's gone is not necessarily lost.

Okay, we just need to find it.

I found my retainer in the school dumpster.

I found my biological father in a militia up in the Ozarks.

This should be no problem.

Don't worry, Dinesh, we'll find it.

Uh, does he not know we're moving out?

Should we tell him?

No. Jack paid him in full up front, and... he seems so at peace.

All right. All right.

♪ ♪

I am such an idiot.

You've got no choice, Richard.

You need to go in to Laurie and just tell her what happened.

What? It's bad enough she's going to find out what I said after this piece posts online.

You want me to go in and tell her right to her face?

No f*cking way.

You could spin it. Tell her you're sorry.

I had it. I had my old CEO job back, and I f*cked it up.


I'll get it.

Ah. The Super Angel Premium Deluxe.

In the flesh.

Yeah, I had to drive to San Mateo to get one that has auto-reverse.

Why didn't you send your assistant?

She was on the phone, so...

Well, Big Head, it takes a brave man to admit his mistakes, and with this token of apology, you've officially righted your wrong.

Consider the matter resolved.


Traditionally the offender shakes the offendee's hand, so you would come to me.

That's an honest Thomas.

Gentlemen, Monica, from the ashes of whatever happens here will rise the Phoenix that shall be known as Bachmanity.

That's what you're going to call your company?

Yeah, well, before it was going to be Bachman Capital.

Because I provide the Bachman, and he provides the capital.

Yeah, but then, we compromised, and made it Bachmanity, 'cause it's Bachman from him, and then the "Etti" from me. So it's two syllables each.

Very much into keeping score, this one. Have a seat.

I'll go fetch the documents and my Montblanc.


So, slight hiccup. I tracked down the woman who bought the drive, but she wasn't interested in selling it back.

Apparently, she's already given it to her elderly father and booked the Geek Squad to set it up for him this afternoon.

(WHISPERING) What about my drive? All our stuff is on there.

I think we're fine. She said he mostly uses the computer to download photos of old ships.

I don't think he'll be able to find our files even if he wanted to.

Well, I mean, hopefully. But still...

Dinesh is right, this is sloppy.

Where does this guy live?

Oh sh1t, Richard, I'm sorry, man.

Initial here and here.

No. It's okay. I... I deserve it. It's my own fault.

And you're going to want to sign here.

Still man, that just really sucks.


You know, I bet... I bet you wish you could just scrub the whole Internet, like Gavin Belson does, right?

Whoa, weird. Every single one of my signatures looks totally different.

Wait. What?

Yeah, look.

This one's in cursive, this one's just printed, and then I, one I just wrote "Big Head," but that's not going to hold up.

No, no, no. Did you just say Gavin Belson scrubbed the Internet?

Oh, yeah.

Yeah, and then they told me to my face, that after Nucleus was shut down, Gavin had one of his execs order them to scrub all negative mentions of Nucleus off of Hooli Search.


Okay, when exactly did this happen?

No, no. Actually, uh... you told me that you would spike my story if I give you something better.

This is better, right?

Yeah. Light-years better, actually. Your story's spiked.

Great, okay.

As long as we're trading apples for comparable apples, I've got a fresh and juicy that's ripe for the picking.

Ms. Cantwell, what say you to an exclusive on the launch of a future financial behemoth?

How about we just stick with Gavin?

Gavin for Richard? Deal?


Monica, do you really need to be here?


Geek Squad.

The computer's right here.

You're not wearing the shirt.

I spilled coffee on it.

I'm a nerd.


All right. We're all set here.

♪ ♪


Can I have my hard drive?


Oh, no. You f*cking dick.


You're gonna be replacing it.

You're back. How did the board meeting go?

Well, um...

You're looking at the past, present, and possibly future CEO of Pied Piper.

(SCREAMS, LAUGHS) That is fab...




My captain!

"O captain! My captain! Rise up and hear the bells.

Rise up... for you the flag is flung... for you the bugle trills."

All right. Dismissed.


Well, uh, just to remind you, Pied Piper is still a sinking ship, so...

Enough with the maritime metaphors.

This is honestly like the best birthday gift that I ever could've asked for.

It's your birthday?

Oh, I don't know.

The CPS worker couldn't find my birth certificate, but... maybe now it is.

And in other good news, we've managed to fill out our engineering team.

Did you tell them that my Fage's off-limits?

Oh, that... that won't be a worry.

Come meet them.

All right, guys, who wants to start work on the fragment uploader?

Uh, Gleb, why don't you and Sanjay take it?

Richard, say hi.

Yes, uh, hello. I am, uh, Richard Hendricks, the CEO of Pied Piper. Welcome aboard.

Engineers: Hello.

What the f*ck is going on here?

We got a little creative.

Uh, I read that the woman who started Pegg'd built her entire app using a team of coders from India, she never met in person.

And it only cost $15,000.

So, yeah, so we figured why limit ourselves to a few expensive people in the Valley, when we could afford a full complement if we outsourced?

Uh, Richard, I know we said that we sold everything in the offices to pay for these guys, but that was not exactly true.

Um, we kept one thing.


Richard: Oh, wow. It's the CEO chair.


Have a seat.


Okay, uh...

Well, uh, why don't we, uh, go around the room or screens or whatever, and, uh, introduce ourselves?

Hello, my name is Gleb. I am in Bulgaria.

Hello, I am Sanjay. I am here in Mumbai, India.

You having trouble?


I am Elisabet. I am speaking to you from Estonia.

Uh, thank you for the...



It's fine. It's fine. It's fine.

I got it. I got it. It's fine.


You're making a great first impression.

Sorry. Can we go to the... do the names one more time?